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Greg’s top 10 Outfest picks!

Last night was opening night for Outfest 2012 and I had the most magnificent time. Great to see so many old friends and so many Greg In Hollywood readers.

Over the next 10 days, I expect to see many movies, attend many parties and panels and schmooze and cruise for news through it all.

If you are planning to attend, here are 10 recommendations for you – some I’ve already seen and others I feel confident are going to be terrific based on past work from the filmmakers.

Here they are, in no particular order:

PETUNIA

Petunia comes from filmmaker Ash Christian whose movie Fat Girls remains one of my all-time Outfest favorites.

That was back in 2006 and it won Ash the Outfest Emerging Talent Award.

This busy director-writer-actor has a special gift and I look forward to seeing his movie on Saturday, July 14 (tomorrow!) at 1:30 p.m. in DGA 1.

It’s described as a Woody Allen-esque comedy in which family dysfunction and sexual confusion abound.

Ash has lined up a quite a stellar cast for this movie: Emmy winner Christine Lahti and Ugly Betty alum Michael Urie as well as Thora Birch and Brittany Snow.

GAYBY

Saw this as a short film at Outfest a few years back and told writer-director Jonathan Lisecki that I really hoped it would be expanded into a feature film one day.

Well, he did it!

And he wisely kept the short’s original stars Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas who are real-life BFFs and have chemistry you just cannot fake.

Their characters, a single gay male and a single straight female, decide to fulfill a youthful promise to have a child together … the old-fashioned way.

I saw the film last month at the LA Film Festival and one of the highlights was that Lisecki has written in an absolutely hilarious role for himself as Matt’s best friend and advisor. He is FUNNY and the writing is so smart. so clever.

Gayby screens on Saturday, July 14 (TOMORROW!) at 9:45 p.m.

Don’t miss it!

SASSY PANTS

Loved this film from writer-director Coley Sohn. It stars Ashley Rickards (so good) as a home-schooled high school senior who is being smothered by her overprotective and virtually agoraphobic mother (an excellent Anna Gunn).

She runs away to live with her dad and his much younger boyfriend. And get this: the boyfriend is played with absolute abandon by Haley Joel Osment. That’s right, the kid from The Sixth Sense.

Well, he’s not a kid anymore and it is just a thrill to see him sink his teeth into a role we would not expect of him. He’s even got a funky haircut.

Then there is veteran actress Jenny O’hara who you will recognize from her countless TV and film roles. As the chain-smoking grandma who lives with her nutty daughter and desperate granddaughter, she steals just about every scene she’s in.

It’s a wonderful film and also screens on Saturday, July 14 (TOMORROW) at 7 p.m. in DGA 1.

SOMETHING REAL

This is an absolute treat from Guy Shalem who delighted us a few years ago at Outfest with his star-studded short film GaySharkTank.com.

This time around, he lines up plenty of familiar faces again in this short with a musical twist about the bar scene in Weho.

I spotted Rex Lee, Bruce Vilanch, Drew Droege, Sam Pancake and Tony Tripoli, among others.

Shalem collaborated with Tony award winning composer and lyricists Jeff Marx (Avenue Q) and 5-time Grammy-award winning producer, composer, and lyricist, Mervyn Warren.

It’s a must-see!

Something Real will first screen on Sunday July 15 at 1:30pm before the feature film Elliot Loves in DGA 1 then again on Wednesday, July 18 at 10 p.m. in DGA 1 as part of Musical Shorts.

WHITE FROG

In the Quentin Lee-directed White Frog, Harry Shum Jr. plays Chaz Young, a gay high school student dealing with enormous family pressures, but who is always trying to do the right thing. When he is killed in a biking accident, the lives of his loved ones are torn apart. It is Chaz’s legacy that helps to piece them back together in a more authentic way.

Shum may be the most familiar name to viewers because he is a regular on Glee but his role is small. The real star of the movie is Booboo Stewart who plays his younger brother. The rest of the cast is also strong and includes BD Wong and Joan Chen as the parents of the two boys and Gregg Sulkin as the boyfriend the older brother left behind.

The film screens on Saturday, July 21 at 2 p.m. in DGA 1.

BEARCITY 2: THE PROPOSAL

The bears are back!

I have not see this movie yet because I want to see it with the audience when it screens on Friday, July 20 at 8:30 p.m. at the Ford Ampitheatre.

The first BearCity movie was one of the highlights of Outfest 2010 for me and it introduced me to the talents of out actor Gerald McCullouch.It also won the brilliant Stephen Guarino the best actor prize at Outfest that year.

McCullouch plays the sexy and single Roger who surprises himself and everyone else in his crowd when he falls in love with Tyler, a young 20-something “twink” in this movie set in the gay “bear” scene in New York City.

The sequel has Roger and his friends heading for Provincetown. Roger and Tyler are getting married. As the gang gathers at the B&B owned by the mother of Guarino’s character of Brent (the mother is played by Kathy Najimy!), the alter-bound couple faces temptation from all the woofy daddies and exes they are surrounded by.

Very much look forward to seeing this sequel from writer-director Douglas Langway.

JOSHUA TREE, 1951: A PORTRAIT OF JAMES DEAN

You are not going to want to miss this very well-done film which explores the bisexuality of Hollywood legend James Dean.

The film imagines the period before Dean made his three memorable film Rebel Without a Cause, Giant and East of Eden.

It has him carrying on affairs with his male roommate, female classmates and older benefactors. We watch as his lovers grapple with their inability to hold on to a shooting star.

James Preston is wonderfully cast as Dean in this very sexy film. He captures his essence well and you don’t wonder why everybody wants to be with him – even before he was famous. Also good are Dan Glenn as the roommate, Dalilah Rain as Violet, David Pevsner as an acting teacher, and Edward Singletary Jr. and Robert Gant as two of the established older men who Dean is with for a time.

(I’ll be posting an interview with writer-director Matthew Mishory shortly)

Joshua Tree will screen on Monday, July 16 at 9:45 p.m. in DGA 1.

MISSISSIPPI: I AM/A FORCE OF NATURE

These two short documentaries are paired together and I am recommending you go to see them based on Mississippi: I Am alone because I have not yet seen A Force of Nature.

Mississippi highlights several young people whose loyalty to their red home state inspires them to be visible leaders in hopes of creating change and making life in Mississippi and beyond better for all LGBT citizens.

The documentaries screen on Saturday, July 14 (TOMORROW!) at 11:30 a.m. in DGA 2. I’ll be posting an interview with Lance Bass later today.

Lance Bass is the most recognizable face in this documentary which benefits greatly from his heartfelt honesty about how he felt as a gay kid growing up in the state.

I DO

Bumped into director Glenn Gaylord last night and he was with one of his gorgeous leading ladies, Alicia Witt, who I am a big fan of (will post pics later today from opening night!).

Glenn, whose previous Outfest films include the acclaimed Leave it On the Floor and the popular Eating Out 3, is back at the festival with the romantic drama I Do.

I look forward to watching the film at Ford Ampitheatre on Wednesday, July 18, at 8:30 p.m.

Here is a synopsis: Beautiful urbanites steam up the screen in this romantic drama about a complicated love triangle from filmmaker Glenn Gaylord. To stay in the U.S., gay Brit Jack (David W. Ross) convinces his lesbian best friend Ali (Jamie Lynn-Sigler of The Sopranos) to marry him. Things get messy when he falls for a sexy Spanish architect while his commitment to his brother’s widow (Alicia Witt) complicates his decision either to stay or to follow his lover.

STRUCK BY LIGHTNING

Who can resist Chris Colfer who plays Kurt Hummel on Glee?

I certainly can’t.

He’s the heart of that show and I’m excited to see a film that he has written himself and stars in.

The film is Struck By Lightning and it will close the festival on Sunday, July 22 at 8 p.m. at the Ford Ampitheatre.

This black comedy with a first-rate cast poses the question: What if you were struck by lightning and died before you even finished high school?

Colfer plays Carson Phillips, a high school senior with big dreams of escaping the mediocrity of his small town. At school, Carson’s routinely stifled by jerky jocks, drama club gays, a mean girl cheerleader (Sarah Hyland of Modern Family), a goth chick (Ashley Rickards of Awkward), and a clueless college advisor (Angela Kinsey of The Office). At home, he has to deal with a pill-popping mom (Allison Janney), estranged father (Dermot Mulroney) and his father’s new fiancée (Christina Hendricks of Mad Men). His only ally is his hapless sidekick, the quirky and hilarious Rebel Wilson who was Kristen Wiig’s ridiculously stupid roommate in Bridesmaids (okay, I’m sold!) Together, they come up with a plan to overcome his foes and achieve his dream before it’s too late.

Okay, so those are my top 10 picks but are by no means the only things worth watching at the festival. I wouldn’t miss Boys Shorts, the Happy Endings panel, a 30th anniversary screening of Making Love or the documentary United in Anger: A History of Act Up.

Go to Outfest.org and check out the full listings and put together your own jam-packed schedule.

Happy Outfest!

FILE UNDER: Outfest

Comments

(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

3 Remarks

  1. July 13th, 2012 at 12:18 pm
    Tom O'Leary says:

    Thank you, Greg, for always supporting gay and lesbian and LGBT-supportive filmmakers. You will never know how much it means to us. The newest short movie I wrote called PRIDE did not make the cut for Outfest, but it is playing all over the world. It is at PhillyQ Gay Film Fest this week. Some day I will get it to you. peace & love!

  2. Is that Tyler Posey (TEEN WOLF) in the WHITE FROG picture (far right)? It sure looks like him.

  3. Thanks for the line up. Can’t wait to see these.

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